During my first year, I learned a piece of City Year culture called ‘ripples’. A ripple is a piece of positivity that you start and then others carry it with them to share, thus creating a ‘ripple’ effect. I am proudly completing my second year of service as the Team Leader at H. Grady Spruce High School in an English 1 classroom. Right before the start of my second year here at Spruce High School, I was filled with enthusiasm to continue the work and positive impact City Year had already established at the school. Along with all the excitement, I was also feeling nervous. I knew that the students that I had built a strong rapport and grew so close to would now be sophomores and I’d no longer be seeing them daily in class. I was worried my students would think they were ‘too cool’ to talk with me now, that they would assume I had abandoned them because I wasn’t in their 10th grade English class, or that over the summer they transferred schools and I’d never see them again.
Amanda Esaena, second from left, with her team from her first service year pictured at the Graduation ceremony for our 2015-2016 corps.
Team members listed from left: Devin Long, Amanda Esaena, Team Leader Vanessa Jimenez, Denise Donaldson, Araceli Vicuña, Lemi Abdolwahb, Beth Rollow, Joey DiZoglio, Katherine Abercrombie
With all my anxiety and lots of joy, my team and I stood outside the school and greeted students in on their first day. Even though we were only outside for 30 minutes, I was amazed to hear so many of the students say “Hey Ms. A!” with excitement! That morning I gained enough happiness to last all day! During this second year of service, my students have come up to me in the hall to tell me about their weekends, studied with me in the library during after school tutoring, and even brought me their report cards to show off their grades. But what has been the most exciting to see this second year is my students from last year interact with the students I work with this year in the freshman class. Seeing my students last year positively interacting with my student this year has revealed that I helped make a positive impact at Spruce High School. I am so proud of my students for taking the initiative to show others what I have shown them. Without City Year, I would have never been able to see such a beautiful “ripple” that I started!
AmeriCorps Team leader Amanda Esaena, fourth from left, with her team from her second year of service at this year's Opening Day Ceremony.
Team members listed from left: Cassidy Kokkinos, Demi Saliu, Meg Pepeper, Amanda Esaena, Gabriella Nunnally, Elliot Paredes, Chelsea Mason, Andres Miller, Liiliana Garcia, Nicole Cooney
Ready to create ripples of your own?
Apply to part of the City Year AmeriCorps cohort!